Thursday, August 27, 2009

Olympic Camp Breakdown

As I type right now some of the best players in the world are in Calgary trying their heart out to represent Canada next February. Any of the 46 players at the camp would make great members of an All-Star team like this. However, once it is all said and done only 23 players (plus maybe a few alternates) will be playing. I have broken down my thoughts for most likely team that I see happening.

Of course, this is all based on speculation at this point, and making the best possible "paper team" that is available. Also, Yzerman has been clear to point out that the camp selections may not be limited to players who are attending the camp. However, I would be shocked if anyone not on this list becomes a member of the team.

Next to each player is a blurb about why I think that they will/won't make the team, also a number between 1 and 10 for how likely I think that they are to make the team.

So without further ado...


Martin Brodeur – Makes it on legacy alone. Add in the fact that he can still get it done, and this is one of the most certain choices at the camp. He will certainly have his work cut out for him to keep the starting spot though. 10

Marc-Andre Fleury – I think that he was able to close the “chocker” label that had haunted him for most of his career. He was simply astonishing in the playoffs especially in both game 7s he had to play. However, there is certainly a backlog in net and I think that he needs to have a great start to the season to get on the roster. 6

Roberto Luongo – See Brodeur, Martin. I think that he's the favourite to be the starter for now, but Babcock will go with whoever is hottest. 10

Steve Mason – He'll be under more scrutiny than anyone else at the start of the season. Was his phenomenal rookie year a fluke? Will he have the dreaded “Sophmore Slump” (a la Carey Price)? I think that those are both clear no answers. He's probably neck and neck with Fleury right now. 6

Cam Ward – Probably the favourite to be the third goalie. He is 6-1 in playoff series' which is pretty stunning to say the least, especially when you consider how none of those six victories would have came without him. Still, he needs to start out strong, and more importantly, he needs to be as good, if not better than Fleury or Mason. 7

Glen's Picks:



Francois Beauchemin – Pro: He's a great physical presence with a great shot. Con: The describes to many other bigger names at the camp. He'd be a great addition to any roster, but I don't think that they have quite enough room for him on this one. 3

Jay Bouwmeester – Let's see, he's one of only three defenceman at the camp to have Olympic experience. He consistently leads the NHL in minutes played, he is one of the best skaters at the blue line in the league. Must I go on? 10

Dan Boyle – An interesting choice if there ever was one. He had a great bounceback year after leaving Tampa (surprise, surprise), and he was a member of the practice squad at the 2006 Olympics. However, I think that there may not be quite enough room for him on this roster. A strong start of the year could bump him up though. 6

Brent Burns – An even more interesting choice. He seemed like a lock after his stunning play in the 2008 World Championships, however a sub-par season had him fall off most depth charts. However, it should be noted that he spent a fair portion of the year playing as a forward. This gives him a great deal of versatility which can never be overstated in such a short tournament where one injury in a key position can create a large opening. I think that he would make a great addition to the alternate roster, but is a stretch to make the main roster at this point. 4

Drew Doughty – He's an absolute lock to be at the top defensive 2014. Doughty showed an incredible promise for most of the season and should be a cornerstone for the Kings for years to come. However, his lack of experience hurts him at the moment. Still could be a great member of the alternate roster. 2

Mike Green – Was an absolute lock until his sub-par playoff run. However, he is still one of the most gifted offensive defencemen in the league. I think that he's a very likely candidate, even if he just mans the Powerplay. 8

Dan Hamhuis – He's a very prototypical Canadian defenceman. However, I don't think that he quite has enough to crack a very deep defence corps. 2

Duncan Keith – Shot up in the rankings in the playoffs, and with good cause. However, it is odd that he was not discussed more before that run, he was an All Star the year before after all. 7

Scott Niedermayer – Let's see, the Olympics are in his hometown, he has won more championships than any other active hockey player, and he's playing one extra year just to be eligible for the Olympics. Not only is he a lock but he should be a favourite for the Captaincy. 10

Dion Phaneuf – He had a bit of an off year which dropped him from a lock to a bubble player. However, I think that he'll start the season off incredibly motivated to atone for his slump. He's one of the best all around d-men in the league and should play like it again next year. 7

Chris Pronger – Apparently, after he was left off of Pierre McGuire's list last February and he called McGuire to guarantee that he would make it when it counted. His excellent playoff run certain helped emphasize that point. I certainly would not argue with him. 9

Robyn Regehr – As much as I would love to put him in there with the other Flames defencemen, I just don't see it happening. He's a great team player and would be an excellent choice, but I think that the “stay at home d-men light on the offensive talent” quota is being filled by Duncan Keith. If Keith falters, expect Regehr to take his place. 6

Stephane Robidas – I had no idea he was even in the running to be honest. He's solid, but this is supposed to be a spectacular lineup. 1

Brent Seabrook – As great as it would be to have Seabrook and Keith play together for the Red and White, I just don't see Seabrook making the final cut. He should fight it out with Regehr for a spot on the alternates. 6

Marc Staal – He will probably join Doughty on the top pairing in 2014. He has scores of potential, but potential doesn't win championships, certainly not at this level. I just don't see it happening, unless he blows the doors off of Madison Square Garden this year. 2

Shea Weber – Funny what difference a year makes doesn't it? He seemed like a long shot this time last year, but now seems like a lock. Hopefully, he won't be one of those Good Year-Bad Year players. 8

Glen's Picks:

Pronger – Neidermayer
Phaneuf – Weber
Keith – Bouwmeester

Alternate: Regehr


Jeff Carter – Seemed like the odd man out in Philly a year ago, but after scoring more goals than anyone whose name doesn't end with “echkin” this season I think that he's made a strong enough case for himself. 9

Dan Cleary – Interesting and sympathetic choice. He's been around for a long time now, and he seems to get better every year. However, after Kris Draper's curious inclusion in 2006, I think that they may have learned their lesson on Red Wings defensive forwards. 1

Sidney Crosby – Are we actually discussing this? 12

Shane Doan – Consistently puts up great numbers with little to no support in Phoenix. Always plays for Canada, and has no problem getting his nose dirty and shutting the big names down. He'll be playing. 10

Simon Gagne – I want to take him, really I do. He has a great success story, and put up very good numbers last year, but I think that he's getting bumped out for younger players, ironic considering his role on the 2002 team. Also, an injury early in the camp really hurts his chances here. 5

Ryan Getzlaf – He was a lock before his amazing playoff run. He's probably second after Crosby on the centre depth chart. That may not sound like much, but have you seen the other centres playing? 10

Dany Heatley – Easily the most contentious pick. Was a lock before his turbulent summer. This raises a ton of questions about his commitment to a team. However, he is Team Canada's all-time leading scorer at the World Hockey Championships. If we take him and don't win, it'll be his fault. If we don't take him and don't win, it'll be because he wasn't there to score goals. I'd take my chances in winning with or without him. 7

Jarome Iginla – Not only a lock, but another strong favourite for the Captaincy. 10

Vincent Lecavalier – He's won the Rocket Richard Trophy, a Stanley Cup, a World Cup, and a World Hockey Championship. I think that we can safely lock him up here. 10

Milan Lucic – I would love to see him on the team, just to see him hammer Malkin and Ovechkin. However, he is probably just going to miss the cut on the “hard hitting forward” category. He would be an interesting choice for the alternate roster though. 3

Patrick Marleau – I've gone up and down on my thoughts on Marleau. If he starts out hot he could end up with a spot on the checking line, but I think that he has an uphill battle after yet another short playoff run. 2

Andy MacDonald – I'm rather surprised that they invited him to the camp ahead of Marc Savard. Both are smooth skaters and crisp passers, but if you look at this list you will notice that passers are not exactly in short supply. I'd be shocked if he's playing in Red and White. 1

Brenden Morrow – He was a lock after his near-legendary play in the 2008 playoffs, however there are questions of his health at this point. He has spent the last few years going healthy-unhealthy-healthy, so he should be fine this year. I'd take him, and if he starts out great I think that Yzerman would be stupid not to. 7

Rick Nash – He scores 40 goals a year playing for Columbus, how do you think he'd do with Crosby feeding him? 10

Corey Perry – He would be a great addition to this team, but will probably be lose out in the logjam for the last few spots on the lineup. He should be favoured to be an alternate though. 6

Mike Richards – Probably the best two-way forward in the league who does not play for Detroit, thus making him Canada's best option. He'll not only play but he'll log some major minutes trying to contain the world's best. 10

Derek Roy – Skilled playmaker who is responsible in his own end, what's not to like? Sadly though, he is probably going to just miss the cut. 5

Patrick Sharp – Probably the most interesting “long shot” at the camp. While he is far from a superstar in the league, he is certainly dependable and a good finisher, and is one of the best penalty killers in the NHL. That is the kind of versatility that should appeal to the powers that be. Still, he has got to be a long shot. 5

Ryan Smyth – Sadly the time has come for Captain Canada to pass the title on to Shane Doan. It's been a great run Ryan, thank you. 2

Jason Spezza – The fact that he was a last minute addition to the camp certainly makes it seem unlikely that he will have a spot. I don't see this working out for Mr. Spezza. 3

Eric Staal – Was left off just about everyone's roster at the start of last season, and jumped up to a spot on the first line during the playoffs. The truth is he is somewhere in between. He's got the talent, and everyone's attention. Anything other than a disastrous start to the year will give him a spot. 8

Jordan Staal – I'd love to see him on the team, but I think that centre is just too deep for him this year. However, the debates should start now, will we see 4 Staal's on our 2014 team? I'm leaning towards a yes. But that's four years from now. 2

Martin St. Louis – His fantastic play at the world championships probably vaulted him above players like Perry, Gagne and Heatley for one of the final spots on the roster. I think that it's his for the moment, but that could change of course. 7

Joe Thornton – Got a lot of flack for having yet another terrible playoff. However, few in the NHL have his kind of scoring pedigree. He'll play so well at the start of the season that all of that should be forgotten. 8

Jonathan Toews – He'll be captaining the team someday. He may as well get some time to play right now. I think that he would be a perfect choice for 13th forward as he really can fit into any situation. 7

Glen's Picks:

Nash – Crosby – Iginla
Carter – Getzlaf – Thornton
Staal – LeCavalier – St. Louis
Morrow – Richards – Doan

Alternates: Perry, Sharp

Until next time,


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Summer That Was...2009 Edition

Well other than one quick post last week, I have missed a great deal to blog about over the past few months. So for the third time ever here, I'll do a quick recap of a few different things.

So without further ado, here is a recap of the last few months...

The King is Dead

Obviously the story that received the most media attention this summer was the passing of Michael Jackson. While it is certainly sad to see anyone pass away at a mere 50 years, I am certainly in the camp of people who say that this story was massively overblown. I have certainly always been a fan of his music, but his all too bizarre public persona left a great deal to be desired. I am wondering exactly where all of these fans and celebrity friends of his were when he was slowly poisoning himself with drugs and on this sad downward spiral that we all played witness to. From all reports it seemed like Jackson took the media's fascination with his self-destruction to heart, causing him to self-destruct even more.

While any of Jackson's choices remain his own to make, the media, and those of us who consumed any story about how weird he got with great zeal need to shoulder some of the blame for what happened. Everyone talks about how tragic his death was, but the reality is that his life was the real tragedy.

Of course, yesterday there was a huge bomb dropped, where it was revealed that his death is being treated as a homicide. I'm not sure what to believe anymore. I'll reserve comment on that for a later time I guess.

The Point Guard Makes the Pass...or Something Like That

Another huge story over the summer was Sarah Palin's resignation as Governor of Alaska. I know that I was certainly surprised by this one, yet in hindsight I don't know why. Since bursting onto the national stage less than a year ago, she has done everything she can to stay in the spotlight. As she returned to Alaska people started to forget about her. She needed to jump back into centre stage, and Alaska is certainly not the place for her to do that.

I do not truly understand the appeal that this woman has. It's as if someone in the Republican Party said “Hey, George Bush is not stupid, folksy, Evangelical, or hawkish enough” and Palin was born from that. I honestly feel that this woman is the biggest threat to the United States in the world, and the thought of her holding the highest office in the land is downright terrifying. For some reason the Rush Limbaugh wing of the party seems to love her, despite the fact that she proved to be a disastrous addition to McCain's campaign and ultimately lead to his downfall. She is just as much of an empty headed celebrity as they claimed Obama to be.

Free Agent Frenzy

Yet again the NHL's annual summer auction was fast and furious with all sorts of big names changes homes. I will have more to talk about this one later on, but I think that the signings of Cammalleri and Komisarek were the best, with the Hossa and Gaborik signings being the worst. I also really liked the Pronger trade, for both teams, and I think that it places both teams in a solid position when the fall starts.

Heel Turn of the Century

Once more I am going to talk a bit about internet darling CM Punk, who shocked the world when he cashed his Money in the Bank contract in at Extreme Rules on Jeff Hardy. Since then they two have been involved in one of the best feuds that the wrestling world has seen in a while which seems to be wrapping up now with Hardy leaving the company.. I couldn't be happier with this as Punk was made to play a heel, and I'm frankly surprised that it took the WWE this long to cash in on the heel potential of Straight Edge wrestler. (For the record: I CALLED IT...even if I didn't think that it would happen this soon).


After a series of civil unrest in China and Iran, internet censorship is back in full force. Web 2.0 in particular has been blocked. With Twitter, Facebook, and yes even Blogger all getting blocked. Right now I am posting through a VPN. This slows things down and makes life rather difficult.

While I am complaining about it as a mere inconvenience to me, there are many people who are under severe oppression as a result of this. Ignorance remains strength.

On a Personal Note

I had the pleasure of returning to Canada for the first time in almost a year for most of July. It was fantastic and surreal to return after so long, as I truly missed a great deal about home. I also got to head to New York City for the first time ever and I was able to travel for a bit in Western China, which was both all kinds of awesome (read about those adventures here).

Now for the first time since I graduated from Acadia in 2004 I will be doing the same thing for two years in a row. While I find the familiarity of returning to Suzhou a touch daunting, I am excited to be a little bit more settled, even if it is for just a short time.

Until next time,


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New Year's Resolutions: 09-10 Edition

Greetings on and all, it is time once more for a Glenergized Season Premiere, as I finish my summer sabbatical. Since the new school year is starting soon, I feel it important to make a few resolutions given that a new school year represents a new beginning for those of us in the field of education.

Increased Focus on Teaching:

I feel very good about how my rookie year on the International Teaching Circuit went. However, with all the time I spent learning how to “China” I was certainly guilty of not focusing enough on the task at hand.

Cook More:

I love cooking, but I have certainly gotten lazy with all of the cheap restaurants that can be found around Suzhou. I am certainly guilty of one of the habits which I decried as “Ineffective”.

Weigh Less:

This is heavily tied to the above point. Restaurant food is certainly a contributor to my expanding waist line. While I do not consider myself to be overweight or fat, I definitely weigh more than I did a year ago. My goal by the end of the year is to be back to somewhere in the 160-165 pound range.

Learn more Chinese:

Ugghhhh....there are moments when this language has been the bane of my existence. I find it exceptionally difficult to master and remember, but yet I know that it is important for me to do, especially while I am here in the country. I think that I have been decent at learning Survival Mandarin, but I certainly have a long way to go if I hope to be the next Da Shan.

(Quick Aside: For an excellent article on the trials and tribulations of learning Mandarin, give “Confessions of a Chinese Language Student” by Ericka a read over. It's ridiculously funny.)

Write More:

I certainly have not been the best blogger this past year. While I split this blog up last year, started writing for Lost Lao Wai, and even made a contribution to a Travel Site, I feel like I have been writing less than I was in the past few years. I plan on fixing that one, and I guess this post is a good start.

Until next time,